Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world. The country’s entire economy is currently dependent on this raw material and will continue to be in the future, as 80 to 95 percent of all export revenues come from oil. However, Venezuela suffers from an unequal distribution of income and corruption. 9 percent of people live in extreme poverty. There are regular shortages in the supply of food and consumer goods, and prices are continuously rising. The situation comes to a head repeatedly, with thousands of people fleeing to neighbouring countries.
Kolping in the field
Kolping made two attempts in Venezuela: one in the 1950s and one in the 1990s. Both time, the idea came from German-born immigrants. There is one Kolping Family with 20 members in the country, and it has not been possible to found more Kolping Families so far.
Recovering in the Kolping children’s home
On 22 January 2006, in the presence of Archbishop José Antonio Castillo, the Kolping House in Calabozo was inaugurated and handed over for its intended purpose. The Kolping House has been designed as a children’s home and takes in children who, after being admitted to hospital due to malnutrition or serious health deficiencies cannot stay there after initial treatment, but who urgently need after-care. In the children’s home they shall not only be nursed back to complete health, but ways are also sought to avoid persistent malnutrition in the future. The Kolping House Calabozo was financed by donations from the region of Endingen am Kaiserstuhl, from which people had immigrated to Venezuela in 1842 because of persistent poverty.
As a sign of gratitude towards Venezuela (the country had once welcomed citizens of his home country in an emergency), Helmut Eitenbenz had taken action after a visit to Venezuela: He was so moved by the poverty of the children in the area that he founded the children’s home. Eitenbenz is honorary consul of Venezuela and had been mayor of the municipality of Endingen for many years.